The Best Notes System

todayI’m sure I’m not alone in questing for “The Best Notes System”. Whether it’s the best pen, notebook or app, there’s really no such thing as a best system. I’m always trying out new systems or different office products that I think will help me get more done. It took me a long time to realize that it’s not about finding the perfect system. It’s about the process. And it has to be a process that can evolve with you and be something you actually enjoy. Something you’ll carry with you.

The best camera is the one you have with you.
– Chase Jarvis

This quote from Chase Jarvis has stuck with me since I saw it a few years ago. You can have the absolute best camera gear in the world but you won’t carry it with you every day because it’s just to heavy. Or you are worried it might get stolen or busted up. So the best camera in the world is the one you’ll carry with you. You can’t take pictures with the ones sitting at home.

It’s the same for me with my notes and pens. While I may always be on the lookout for a new notebook to try out or a great pen, the best one I have is the one I’m willing to carry with me every day. And while I still can’t find the perfect red ink, I make do with the ones I do have.

I’ve tried all sorts of notebooks over the years. The Arc/Circa disc style notebooks. Moleskine, 3 ring binders, steno pads, DIY notebooks and so many more. Same for pens. But bottom line for me is I like something small and easy to carry so I do my notes and planning with 3 tools: Field Notes for my every day notes, sketching, ideas, lists etc. My calendar of choice is the Hobonichi Techo which came out with a U.S. version for the first time this year. I love it because like the Field Notes it’s very small and uses graph paper. I have a thing for graph paper, as you’ll see. Last, I use EverNote. I transfer any important notes or long term info into EveryNote. It’s great for all kinds of notes, lists, to-do’s, recipes or whatever I feel like throwing at it.

I’ve also tried the various notes systems like the Bullet Journal and David Allen’s GTD – Get Things Done but none of them ever quite suited me. The point is, you have to find something that works for you and let it evolve with your needs. For some people that’s a rigid system that forces you to use their methods to organize your life. For me it’s about being free to try new tools and incorporate the stuff that works and drop the stuff that doesn’t. I love tinkering with stuff and improving things to meet my own needs and any system I use needs to be flexible enough for me to do that.

But a step further for me was investing in nicer tools. Spending that little bit of extra money on a nice Rorting pen and some nice leather covers for my Hobonichi Techo and Field Notes makes me want to use them even more. Use whatever tricks you need to do to keep you motivated and using your system and don’t worry about it evolving and changing. That’s part of the fun.

About Chrispian

My name is Chrispian and I like to make things. I'm a web developer and have been working in the computer / internet field for almost 22 years now. I also draw, write, take pictures and love figuring stuff out.

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